Desert Trumpet

Eriogonum inflatum Torr. & Frem.


This plant thrives in areas of dry sand or gravel. It possesses very small yellow or pink flowers and an inflated stem just below branching segments. Eriogonum: from the Greek erion, "wool", and gonu, "joint or knee", in reference to the hary or woolly joints of some of the species of the genus.

The swelling of the stems was assumed to have been influenced by the presence of gall insects, most notably of the genus Onyerus.

The female wasp produces a small hole on the inflated portion of the Desert Trumpet, packs the cavity with larvae and lays her eggs upon them, providing a food source, and a protected environment for the offspring.

It is known that some Native American tribes that once inhabited the surrounding areas of the Las Vegas Valley, most commonly Paiute, would remove the stalk of the plant at the base, and then cut the inflated bulb in half, producing a makeshift pipe. A mixture of Indian tobacco and mistletoe would be smoked primarily for leisure purposes.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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